Conversion Optimization

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

Wondering why visitors are leaving your eCommerce site without buying? Here are 29 possible reasons

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

If shoppers don’t spend time on your eCommerce store, then it’s a double whammy. 

Because an unfavorable bounce rate almost inevitably means abandonment and no conversion.

In 2023, an industry survey found that the average eCommerce bounce rate is about 54%

With such high stakes, it’s important to find ways that will make shoppers spend more time on your store. 

29 Reasons Why Shoppers Bounce Off on eCommerce Stores

Wondering why visitors are leaving your eCommerce site without buying? Or why your sales are not increasing despite good traffic?

Here are 29 possible reasons: 

1. Poor first impression

When shoppers come to your store for the first time, it’s important to make a positive impression.

If the site loads slowly, can’t find the exact products, or see unprofessional website layouts, new shoppers will never come back.     

How to fix low bounce rates on the homepage:

  • Feature professional visuals to make a better impact. 
  • Keep what’s important like CTA in the first fold.
  • Spotlight free shipping above the header. 
  • Design an easy-to-navigate menu for faster product discovery. 

See how AKRacing makes a lsting impression:

why visitors are leaving your eCommerce site without buying Why Shoppers Bounce Off on eCommerce Stores

2. Inconsistent messaging

The paid ad says ‘50% off’.

When shoppers end up on landing pages, the messaging says ‘Up to 50% off’. 

With this type of inconsistent messaging, visitors will leave your eCommerce site without buying. 

When customers see the same messaging across multiple channels, they feel like they are dealing with a brand that is professional and organized. 

This can lead to increased trust, and loyalty and establish brand recall.

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Write similar words across channels to keep your marketing consistent.
  • Use the same fonts, colors, and images across all of your channels.
  • Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your customers may not understand.
  • Use the same tone of voice and style of writing. 

3. Annoying auto-plays

Auto-playing videos or music can usually irritate shoppers and quickly close the tab. 

Here’s how to avoid annoying shoppers and make them spend more time on your store:

  • If autoplay is necessary, set videos or audio content to be muted by default. Shoppers can then opt to unmute if they wish to listen or watch.
  • Enable auto-play features triggered by actions, such as hovering over the content or clicking on a specific section, giving users intentional control.
  • Instead of auto-playing multimedia, consider presenting product information, demonstrations, or testimonials through clickable GIFs, lazy-loading images, or animations. 

4. Unexpected costs

Hidden costs are cited as the number #1 reason why shoppers bounce off

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Disclose additional fees like shipping, handling, or taxes before checkout. 
  • Offering free returns is beneficial for customer satisfaction, but return shipping costs can impact profits.
  • International sales may incur additional taxes or customs duties, which can surprise customers. Use tools to calculate these costs upfront or state that taxes are added at checkout.
  • If you’re offering subscription services or memberships, be transparent about recurring fees and clearly outline the benefits to justify the cost.

5. Complicated checkout

Long checkout processes can aggravate shoppers and significantly decrease conversion rates.

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Remove unnecessary elements like additional offers or pop-ups during the checkout process to keep shoppers focused on completing the purchase.
  • Provide clear error messages and assistance if shoppers input incorrect information, guiding them on how to rectify mistakes without frustration.
  • Enable persistent cart across devices that allow shoppers to seamlessly transition their shopping cart from desktop to mobile or vice versa, ensuring continuity and convenience in the checkout process.
  • Let shoppers save the cart or create a wishlist to revisit items easily, promoting a smoother checkout experience for returning customers.

6. Limited delivery options

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

Fewer delivery options can often put off potential customers. 

Especially, if they are shopping during the holidays

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Collaborate with multiple carriers to offer diverse shipping options, speeds, and pricing to cater to various customer needs.
  • Provide both expedited and standard delivery options, allowing customers to choose based on urgency and budget.
  • Offer premium membership programs with exclusive delivery perks, such as faster shipping or discounted rates, to incentivize customer loyalty.
  • Allow customers to opt-in to have their package delivered to a trusted neighbor if they are unavailable, preventing missed deliveries.
  • Extend shipping options to include both local and international destinations, enabling a broader reach for customers worldwide.
  • Introduce same-day or next-day delivery services in select regions to meet urgent delivery demands and stand out from competitors.

7. Unclear USPs

When the eCommerce store's USPs are unclear, it can lead to several issues like higher bounce rates. 

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Emphasize how the USP directly benefits customers—whether it's by solving a problem, offering convenience, providing exceptional quality, or delivering a unique experience.
  • Identify the emotional benefits your product or service provides. Highlighting how it improves customers' lives or solves their problems can create a stronger connection.
  • If your store caters to a specific niche market, make that niche and its unique needs or preferences a focal point in your USP. 

See how Olipop clearly outlines its USPs through product images:

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

8. Confusing page navigation

Complex navigation can lead to frustration and why visitors leave your eCommerce site without buying. 

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Use emojis or visual cues to aid navigation and quickly convey information. (e.g., 🔥for bestsellers)
  • Ensure that menu labels and categories are descriptive and easily understandable.
  • On mobile devices, enable a responsive design that adapts well to various screen sizes and maintains ease of use.

9. Average “search” capabilities

Unintuitive search features can annoy shoppers and increase the steps to discover products.   

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Include thumbnail images in search results to help users visually identify products before clicking on individual product pages
  • Offer shoppers the option to view their search history or save favorite searches for convenience and quicker access to frequently sought-after products.
  • Enable geolocation searches to provide location-based search results.

See how Rebag prompts on it’s search bar:

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

10. Unintuitive product filtering or sorting

Complicated product filtering and sorting can lead to a frustrating shopping experience.

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Set default filter settings intelligently based on user behavior or common preferences, providing a more personalized starting point for shoppers.
  • Display which filters are active and how they impact the search results. 
  • Use visual cues like checkboxes or color changes to indicate applied filters.
  • Allow shoppers to save their frequently used or preferred filter combinations, enabling them to easily apply them in future searches.

11. Unsatisfactory return policy 

A poor return policy can deter potential customers from making purchases, eventually increasing bounce rates.  

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Provide a "try-before-you-buy" option where shoppers can purchase items to test for a specific period without fully committing. If unsatisfied, they can return the product hassle-free.
  • Offer multiple return methods such as in-store drop-offs, pick-ups, or mailing returns to accommodate various customer preferences and situations.
  • For holiday sales, extend return policies where customers can return items outside the regular return window, promoting goodwill during peak shopping seasons.

12. Too many product choices

Displaying an overwhelming number of product choices can confuse and even freeze shoppers.

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your eCommerce store:

  • Enable visual search that lets shoppers upload images or use their cameras to find similar products.
  • Allow customers to vote or suggest products, creating crowdsourced trending collections or "customer favorites" sections that evolve based on real-time user input.

See how Pinky and Kamal offer product recommendations through ‘complete the look’ nudge:

why visitors are leaving your eCommerce site without buying

13. Products buried behind branding

why visitors are leaving your eCommerce site without buying
We 🫶 how Loro Piana visualizes lifestyle with it’s products, instead of vague messaging.  

Products being overshadowed by branding on an eCommerce site can reduce discoverability and make shoppers bounce off. 

Here's how to strike a balance between showcasing branding and highlighting products effectively:

  • Create dedicated sections or carousels for featured products or bestsellers on the homepage or category pages, giving these items prominence without overshadowing the brand.
  • Ensure that product images, descriptions, and CTAs stand out prominently against branding elements.
  • Use interactive features like Zoom, 360-degree views, or video demonstrations to engage users directly with the products, allowing them to explore details without distraction.
  • Conduct A/B testing to assess the impact of different layouts and designs on user engagement and conversion rates, optimizing the balance between branding and product visibility.

14. Intrusive cookies and tracking policies

Excessive cookies and tracking policies on eCommerce stores can lead to distrust and dissatisfaction. 

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Allow users to choose which types of cookies they consent to, promoting transparency and giving users control over their data.
  • Use cookies only for essential functionalities, such as cart management or login sessions, reducing the reliance on non-essential tracking cookies.
  • Gather zero-party data through short surveys or polls to personalize the shopping experience.
  • Use encryption and secure data handling practices to protect user data collected through cookies or tracking mechanisms.

See how The Oodie has a cookies pop-up that arrives without interrupting the shopping experience:

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

15. Poor targeting

Poor targeting in eCommerce can lead to several issues that affect customer acquisition, engagement, and overall sales performance.

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Develop detailed buyer personas based on demographics, interests, online behavior, purchasing patterns, and pain points. This helps in understanding and segmenting the audience effectively.
  • Create targeted campaigns for different seasons, holidays, or special occasions. 
  • Implement lifecycle marketing by targeting customers at different stages of their buying journey, such as new visitors, repeat customers, or those who abandoned carts.

16. No “guest checkout” 

The absence of a guest checkout option can be a significant hurdle for potential customers.

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Offer shoppers the choice to create an account after completing their purchase with an option to save their information for future visits.
  • Allow shoppers to sign in using their social media accounts (like Facebook, Google, or Apple) to streamline the process without creating a new account.
  • Implement a passwordless login system where shoppers receive a one-time login link via email or SMS for secure access without requiring a password.

17. Lack of trust

Unstructured information like too many technical or marketing words can overwhelm shoppers. 

When it gets overwhelming, shoppers rather close the tab than try to figure things out. 

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Provide tutorials, guides, or blog posts that offer value-added content, such as styling tips, usage instructions, or DIY ideas related to the products sold.
  • Show genuine customer reviews and ratings to offer social proof and valuable insights about the product's quality, helping shoppers make informed decisions.
  • Create buyer’s guides or suggest product bundles to assist shoppers in making informed decisions, especially for complex or complementary products.

18. Slow website

A slow eCommerce website can significantly impact user experience, leading to increased bounce rates and decreased conversions.

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Utilize browser caching to store static resources (like images, CSS, and JavaScript) locally, reducing server load and load times for returning visitors.
  • Implement AMP to create lightweight and fast-loading versions of pages specifically for mobile shoppers, enhancing their experience.
  • Perform regular audits to identify and rectify performance bottlenecks, ensuring the website maintains optimal speed and responsiveness.

19. No localization

The lack of localization in eCommerce can result in missed conversion opportunities and reduced user engagement.

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Acknowledge and adapt to local holidays, festivals, or events by offering promotions, discounts, or themed content that aligns with these occasions.
  • Offer information in multiple languages, especially if your customer base is diverse, to cater to a wider audience.
  • Create region-specific blog posts, articles, or guides that address local interests, trends, or topics related to the products or services offered.
  • Provide clear and easily accessible information on return policies, warranties, and customer support that align with local regulations and expectations.

20. Slow customer support

Long customer support time can create a negative impression on a shopper.

Here’s how to make visitors stay on your eCommerce site:

  • Create a community-driven support forum where customers can share experiences, tips, and solutions. 
  • Use interactive widgets or tools directly on product pages, offering live support, sizing guides, or compatibility checks to assist customers in real time.
  • Enable sensory feedback mechanisms, such as haptic feedback or visual cues, into support interfaces to assist shoppers with disabilities or enhance user interaction for better understanding.

21. Lack of product samples

The absence of product samples on online stores can put off customers.

Especially, those who prefer trying out products before making a purchase.

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Use virtual try-on or test tools for products so customers can visualize how products might look or fit before buying.
  • Allow customers to create their own sample sets by catering to individual preferences.

See how Boucleme offers free samples to increase the average order size:

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

22. High prices

While shopping, most potential customers research a lot before deciding on a purchase. 

If your prices cost more than your competitors, then it’ll increase bounce rates.  

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your eCommerce store:

  • Host loyalty programs that reward frequent shoppers with discounts or redeemable points.
  • Offer tiered pricing exclusive to members or subscribers, allowing access to lower prices based on their level of loyalty.
  • Create bundles based on seasonal trends, occasions, or themes. (e.g., holiday bundles, back-to-school sets)

23. Lack of social proof 

Inauthentic social proof can impact customers' trust and purchasing decisions.

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your eCommerce store:

  • Source real reviews instead of paid reviews to boost their products' credibility.
  • Showcase UGC like customer photos, videos, or testimonials displaying real people using and enjoying your products.
  • Collaborate and host lives with influencers to introduce products or sales.  
Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

24. Intrusive pop-ups

Pop-ups are every eCommerce store’s marketing strategy. 

But, they also interrupt a shopper’s experience. 

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Display pop-ups sparingly instead of bombarding visitors immediately upon arrival. (e.g., upon exit intent)
  • Introduce pop-ups with real-time comments, reviews, or engagement from other shoppers currently active on the site, driving urgency.
  • Avoid displaying false limited stock notifications or countdown timers can pressure customers into making hasty purchases.

See how Popflex applies a sticky pop-up teaser on the left-hand side which expands when clicked:

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

25. Untimely urgency tactics 

Fear of missing out is real. 

However, many online stores go overboard with FOMO tactics.  

Here’s how to strategize urgency tactics that don’t drive shoppers away:

  • Enable a limited-time treasure hunt where customers explore the website to find hidden discounts or exclusive products,
  • Use messaging or labels like "Most Popular" or "Trending Now" to subtly imply scarcity.
  • Offer personalized auctions or bidding opportunities on unique or high-value products.

See how Tala creates urgency with subtle nudges through ‘low’ stock’ labels:

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

26. Overwhelming customizations

Too many customizations and plugins can be bad for both stores and shoppers. 

How to fix low bounce rates:

  • Audit plugins and customizations, and get rid of those that no longer impact your store or are hardly used by shoppers. 
  • See which store themes have built-in features, reducing the use of plugins. 

27. Incompatibility with multiple browsers or devices

Imagine your shoppers are looking up a product on mobile. 

They later want to purchase through a desktop. 

But, the store doesn’t open on a different browser. 

This will frustrate shoppers and make them bounce off. 

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your eCommerce store:

  • Conduct usability testing with a diverse group of users across different devices and browsers. Gather feedback to identify any compatibility issues and user experience concerns.
  • Ensure compliance with web standards (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) to enhance compatibility. Avoid browser-specific coding practices and utilize standardized coding techniques.  

28. Boring product page layout  

Dull or uninteresting product pages can be the reason why visitors are leaving your eCommerce site without buying. 

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your store:

  • Incorporate AR technology or virtual try-on features for products like clothing, accessories, or home decor, allowing users to visualize products in their environment or on themselves before purchase.
  • Collaborate with influencers or content creators for live product demonstrations or Q&A sessions directly embedded on the product page.
  • Use a tool that calculates the environmental impact of the product, showcasing its eco-friendly aspects and benefits.
  • Implement interactive elements or product demos that allow users to interact with the product virtually, demonstrating its features or functionalities in real-time.

A timeless product page design from Fiesta Factory Direct, hitting all the right notes:

Why are Shoppers Not Spending Time on your eCommerce Store?

29. Limited product variants

Some store platforms have a limit to product variants. 

This can make shoppers drop off your store. 

Here’s how to make shoppers spend more time on your eCommerce store:

  • Introduce rotating limited-edition collections that feature a small number of unique variants for a short period. This strategy creates anticipation and a sense of exclusivity.
  • Implement time-limited variant unlocks based on specific actions (such as referrals, reviews, or social shares), encouraging engagement and rewarding customers with access to exclusive variants.

Before you go...

98% of shoppers who visit an eCommerce site leave without buying—drop off without buying anything.

Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.

And this is the problem ConvertCart solves.

We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.

How we can help you:

Our conversion experts can audit your site—identify UX issues, and suggest changes to improve conversions.

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